Outdoor Pursuits Centre gets hooked up to broadband
19 November 2012
OPC gets hooked up to broadband
Combined effort overcomes one of New Zealand’s biggest connection challenges
It had to be one of the most challenging broadband hook-ups in New Zealand, but the Tongariro OPC base finally has fast and reliable internet access.
Previously, the remote 40-year-old base of the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand (OPC) had to rely on a slow and patchy satellite connection for internet access.
But this year, a combined effort from OPC and its long-time sponsor Genesis Energy, with the support of the local Huckleberry’s Sports and Charitable Society, brought broadband to the staff at Tongariro.
“OPC is blessed to be based in one of New Zealand’s most beautiful wilderness areas, but the remote location does have its challenges,” says OPC chief executive Graham Seatter.
The base is in the heart of the Tongariro National Park, about 25 kilometres from the nearest town and four kilometres from the nearest state highway, so getting hooked up to broadband internet was a logistical, technical and financial challenge.
“We have a very remote location at Tongariro and the cost of getting a unique connection to our site was prohibitive, so we had to find a different solution,” says Graham.
“Fortunately, our long-term supporter Genesis Energy had broadband internet connections in the area serving the Tongariro Power Scheme, so with a bit of technical nous and financial support from them, we were able to get hooked up.
“Without Genesis accommodating us on their existing internet hardware it would have been extremely expensive.”
As well as allowing OPC to piggyback on its connection, Genesis supported in a number of ways including project managing the hook-up.
“Genesis is a great partner of OPC in so many ways,” says Graham, “and in this project they made a major contribution in what is a very significant development for OPC.”
Another key financial supporter was the Huckleberry’s Sports and Charitable Society, a local trust that has given OPC valuable support in recent years.
OPC’s Auckland-based IT support company, Analogue Ltd, also helped to solve some of the technical and logistical challenges.
“Having broadband has changed the world for our staff at Tongariro. They have joined the 21st century,” says Graham.
But this doesn’t mean that the thousands of school students who visit OPC every year will be spending their wilderness time on their mobile phones and tablets.
“Although our students will benefit indirectly from the broadband connection, part of the OPC experience is appreciating life without digital distractions, and we’ll keep it that way,” says Graham.
The Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand has been built on the legacy of Sir Ed and Graeme Dingle nearly 40 years ago. Education is still being valued as OPC’s primary benefit during the rich outdoor learning experiences:
Contributing positively to the life journey of young people through adventure and rich outdoor learning experiences that develop care and respect for self, others and place, in the spirit of Sir Edmund Hillary.
OPC’s school programmes are about ‘seeking summits’ on many levels. OPC develops tomorrow’s leaders by building spirit, a strong sense of group unity, camaraderie and valuable socials skills that last a lifetime in unique and unspoiled New Zealand settings.
Programmes take place at OPC centres in Tongariro and Great Barrier Island, as well as nationwide events including the Genesis Energy Hillary Challenge for senior students (year 12 and 13), the YouthTown Get2Go for junior students (year 9 and 10), and NavQuest for all secondary school level students, their families and interested public.
For further information please visit www.opc.org.nz